Category Archives: Sides

Sauteed Escarole

This is one of my favorite dishes at Italian restaurants. It may seem like a lot of escarole to start, but it cooks down a TON. My version is the super garlic version – feel free to tone it down by using half the recommended garlic !

Sauteed Escarole
Sauteed Escarole

4 servings
87 calories per serving

2 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 c cleaned and chopped escarole
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t garlic powder
OPTIONAL – 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly so that the garlic does not burn and get bitter. Add escarole a few handfuls at a time and mix every 30 seconds or so making sure all escarole comes in contact with the bottom of the pan so it heats and wilts. Once wilted a bit, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking 5 minutes or until to desired doneness. You can take it off while there is still some crunch to the larger pieces, or I like to cook it all down quite a bit and serve it very wilted and cooked.

Green Beans and Potatoes

This really dresses up green beans and the added potatoes make it more satisfying than just a regular bean casserole. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, substitute a can of diced tomatoes. Don’t skimp on the cilantro, it gives this dish a nice flavor burst. This dish really calls for Mise en Place preparation, it makes the steps go much easier.

Green Beans and Potatoes
Green Beans and Potatoes

8 servings
70 calories per serving

1 1/2 T oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c diced red potatoes, skin left on
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c celery, sliced thinly
1 pound green beans, ends removed
3/4 lb. plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 c water
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. Add potatoes, celery and salt and sauté 4 minutes. Add the beans and sauté another 3 minutes. Add water. Cover and cook 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, reduce heat and cook 4 minutes longer or until tomatoes soften. Stir in pepper flakes and serve immediately.

Spinach with Mushrooms

Both spinach and mushrooms are low on the calorie scale, but high on the flavor scale. Combine them for a great tasting very low calorie side dish that you can whip up in just minutes.

Spinach with Mushrooms
Spinach with Mushrooms

4 servings
52 calories per serving

2 shallots, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c beef broth
3/4 t oil
4 oz fresh or canned mushrooms, sliced or quartered if button
1 lb. baby spinach leaves
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t salt
¼ t garlic powder

Combine shallots, garlic, 2T broth and oil in skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until shallots are softened. Add mushrooms and the remaining broth and cook 5 more minutes or until mushrooms are softened. Place on high heat and add spinach a bit at a time and stir until spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt, garlic powder and pepper and serve.

Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese

I’m not a huge fan of plain salads. But when you add lots of fiber (chickpeas) and cheese, then they become special and they do fill you up. This one has both and has a great citrus dressing. Add a few squirts of fresh lime of orange juice to give it even more citrusy taste.

Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese
Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese

4 servings
178 calories per serving

1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained
2 scallions, sliced
1/2 c grape tomatoes, halved
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
3 C bagged salad mix (I like to use a mix or organic greens or mesclun mix)
2 oz. low fat feta cheese
1 t lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
1 t oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t salt

Mix zest, juice, oil, garlic and salt. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, scallions, parsley and salad and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta and serve.

Broccoli Casserole

The sauce ingredients make this a great casserole. It’s certainly not boring or dull – it has a rich flavor and a nice, creamy consistency.

Broccoli Casserole
Broccoli Casserole

6 servings
116 calories per serving

10 oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 can fat free cream of celery soup
1/2 c 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1 t seasoned salt
1/4 c skim milk
1/4 c fat free mayo
1/3 c egg beaters
1/2 c panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pam a 11×7 baking dish. Put broccoli in dish. Mix soup, cheese and salt. Stir in milk, mayo and egg beaters and pour over the broccoli. Top with the bread crumbs and spray lightly with Pam. Bake 45 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes to brown the top. Serve immediately.

Genji Spicy Ginger Miso Dressing

I’m not sure if this is a local product or if you can find it all over – a friend introduced me to it and you can get it at Whole Foods Markets. It makes a GREAT vegetable dip. Served with tri-color bell peppers, it makes an excellent snack or lunch side.

The dressing itself is 140 calories for 2T – – add the equivalent of a whole cut up bell pepper for about 25 calories.

Peppers and Miso Ginger Dressing
Peppers and Miso Ginger Dressing

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This is a great low calorie side to any lunch or dinner. In the summer, I substitute heirloom tomatoes from the local farmer’s market. Regular cucumber can be used, but English cucumbers have many less seeds and I find them more enjoyable. I often substitute fresh herbs if I have them around (parsley, basil, dill, chives, etc.)

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Tomato and Cucumber Salad

4 servings
38 calories per serving

1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut in thin slices
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t oregano flakes
½ t basil flakes
¼ t red pepper flakes
4 T vinegar

Place all in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let flavors mix.

Macaroni and Cheese

This is rich and creamy and almost ½ the calories of regular mac and cheese due to the Laughing Cow Light cheese and the FiberGourmet pasta ! I really suggest you try some – you’ll never know the difference !

Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese

2 servings
290 calories per serving

6 oz. FiberGourmet Pasta
4 wedge Laughing Cow Light cheese (I use original flavor, but any of the 3 will work)
2 T skim milk
2 T hot water
2 T shredded 2% milk cheddar cheese
6 sprays I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ t onion powder

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and place in a bowl with all other ingredients. Stir to mix well. Enjoy !!!

Stuffed Mushrooms

Great to bring along to a party !

Stuffed Mushroom
Stuffed Mushroom

4 servings
121 calories per serving (4 mushrooms)

16 medium sized button mushrooms, stems removed, but reserved
1 c crumbled goat cheese
4 T chopped flat leaf parsley
16 pieces of sundried tomato packed in oil, drained
1 t cayenne pepper
Pam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan with Pam.

Mince the reserved mushroom stems (food processor works great) and place in a bowl with cheese, parsley and cayenne pepper. Mix and set aside. Place caps in the prepared pan and lightly spray the tops with Pam. Fill each cap with the cheese mixture and then top each with a sundried tomato strip. Bake 15 minutes.

Rice and Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

Tasty, Tasty, Tasty !  This beats the pants off a 300+ calorie serving of Rice a Roni.  Serve with Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Crock Pot 20 Clove Chicken for a great complete meal under 400 calories.


Rice and Pasta with Parmesan Cheese
Rice and Pasta with Parmesan Cheese




6 servings
166 calories per serving (serving = 2/3 cup)

2 T oil
½ c vermicelli broken into very small pieces
1 c white rice
1 ¼ c hot vegetable or chicken stock or broth (Emeril’s is great !)
¼ t pepper
Salt to taste
2 bay leaves
1 t parsley flakes
2 T parmesan or romano cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add vermicelli and sauté until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add in rice, broth and water along with salt and pepper, bay leaves and parsley. Cover and simmer on medium low 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and let stand covered 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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